Meet Our Staff: Directors

Patty Goldstick

Director Of Early Childhood Center


Patty Goldstick has a Master's Degree in Early Childhood and Special Education from the Bank Street College of Education. Before coming to Shaaray Tefila, she was Director of the Temple Israel Center Nursery School in White Plains. She also ran Kulanu, a supplemental Hebrew High School in Stamford, CT and has worked as a Special Educator in dozens of early childhood centers throughout Westchester and the Bronx, helping children with special needs reach their goals. She is a founding member and former Executive Director of Congregation Tehillah in Riverdale, NY. She was also instrumental in the revitalization of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in Manhattan where she served as the Director of Family & Youth Activities and then as Director of Programming & Volunteers. Patty has three children, Caleb, Isabela, and Max, and a sweet labradoodle named Ziggy. When not at Shaaray, Patty loves to hike, dance, read and play pickleball.

Contact Patty at 914-307-0464

Debbie Belowich

Assistant Director of Special Services & Curriculum Development


Debbie Belowich  joined the teaching staff at Temple Shaaray Tefila in August 2022 and brings with her a wealth of experience and expertise in the field of early childhood development, especially in the areas of professional development and supporting children with special needs. Debbie has a dual Masters in Special Education. In addition to her experience as a teacher and curriculum developer, she has been a Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) and Education Coordinator. . Debbie helps our teaching staff develop individualized plans and strategies for children with special needs, ensuring that they receive the care, attention, and support necessary for their optimal development. She also collaborates with therapists and specialists, and of course parents, to provide a comprehensive support system for our children.  Prior to teaching at Shaaray, Debbie taught at Temple Beth El in Chappaqua where she was a head three’s teacher, ran enrichment activities, and taught third grade Religious school. Before that, Debbie spent ten years working as a lead teacher and education coordinator for TheraCare, an agency that provides special education services. Debbie enjoys hiking, reading, and practicing yoga, and loves chocolate. She lives in Chappaqua with her husband, Brian and two daughters, Alexa and Talia.

Contact Debbie at (914) 307-0476

 

Michaela Freitas

Assistant Director of Administration


Michaela Freitas has been at the ECC since 2017 working first as an administrative assistant for six years, and now as Assistant Director of Administration. Prior to administrative work, she worked as a teaching assistant at a preschool in Westchester for four years. On her time off she likes to spend time with her family especially with her niece Charlotte, traveling, going to the beach, and doing seasonal activities.

Contact Michaela at 914-307-0472

Teachers and ECC Staff

Randi Apter


Before joining the ECC family, Randi Apter worked in the entertainment industry, but her love of teaching children led her to join the ECC team in 2017.  She worked as an Assistant Teacher in the 2s for two years before joining the 4s team.  Randi loves seeing the smiling faces of the children when they accomplish a task, whether it’s sorting similar objects, painting, or throwing or catching a ball.  Randi lives in Briarcliff Manor, NY with her husband Mark and their two children Emily and Brandon.  She volunteers as a Troop Leader for her daughter’s Girl Scout group and enjoys spending weekends with her family.  Randi graduated from Ithaca College.

Bonnie Bromberg

Bonnie Bromberg has worked in early childhood education for over fourteen years. Eleven years were spent co-teaching and assistant teaching (every age level) in the ECC at the Rosenthal JCC in Pleasantville and, for the last three years, she has been working here at the ECC, in the capacity of Assistant Teacher for Threes to Be, Threes and Fours. She considers the ECC team her other family and the ECC a place that makes her smile everyday. She loves teaching and learning from inquisitive and happy children. She earned a BA in Speech Pathology from Queens College and a Masters in Speech Pathology from NYU. In her spare time, she enjoys music, cooking, baking and spending time with friends and family, which includes her favorite furry grandson pet. 

Megan Elkowitz


Megan Elkowitz is happy to be joining the ECC at Temple Shaaray Tefila. For the past two years she was working at the JCC in Greenwich with the 2’s and 3’s. During the summers she worked at Breezemont Day Camp. Prior to working with kids she spent over 20 years in the fashion industry.  She has always loved teaching and is happy to be joining our family. When not working she enjoys working out, hiking, doing art, baking, being creative and spending time with her family. She currently lives in Westchester with her husband, two children and her dog.

Jessica Goldberg


Jessica Goldberg is a congregant and former board member whose love of Shaaray Tefila led to her subbing in the ECC and ultimately to a position as a 2s Assistant Teacher and then Head 4s Teacher. Having spent years as a temple youth group advisor, religious school teacher and teacher at a Jewish day school, Jewish education has always been an important focus of Jessica’s work. The warm, nurturing environment of the ECC makes it her happy place and she looks forward every day to seeing the little bright, smiling faces that greet her at the door! When not at the ECC, Jessica is greeted by the smiling faces of her husband Lee, children Emily and Ethan and dog Poppie!

Amy Umansky Kahn


Amy Umansky Kahn received a BA in Education from George Washington University.  She taught first grade for twenty-five years in the Springfield, NJ public school system and was a long-term substitute teacher in the Livingston, NJ public school system.  Since retiring, she has worked as an assistant teacher with the four year olds at Temple B'nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, NJ. Raised in New Rochelle, NY, Amy now lives in Somers, near her family. She has two sons (one daughter-in-law and one soon-to-be-daughter-in-law), and two granddaughters. She loves to read, travel, bake, and see Broadway shows.

Jane Kendes


Jane Kendes has a Master's degree in early childhood education. For the past 30 years she has been a nursery school teacher working with toddlers, 2s, 3s and 4s. She especially loves exploring nature, making music and cooking with young children. She has two grown sons and lives in Hartsdale with her husband and dog, Teddy. When not teaching, she loves yoga, dance, hiking, biking and kayaking.

Georgia Mischka


Georgia Mischka graduated from the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and worked as an actress in New York City and California. She opened and ran a 70 seat nonprofit off-Broadway theater in NYC and taught theater to teenagers throughout NYC public high schools. Since 2010, she has been teaching nursery school in Westchester and NYC sharing her creativity and love of the arts with young children.

Renee Orscher


Renee Orscher joined our ECC staff in the fall of 2022.  Prior to that, she worked in Finance analysis, planning and forecasting for 20 years.  She has been volunteering in her daughters’ schools since 2015.  Working in the schools brought her so much joy so she decided to leave the Finance world and pursue work in early childhood education.  She lives in Pound Ridge with her husband, Christian, and her two daughters, Eva and Scarlett. When not working, she loves to cook, and watch her daughters compete in their hockey and swimming events. 

Sarah Pinna


Sarah Pinna is a passionate early childhood educator who recently received her bachelor’s degree in education from Universita Degli Studi Nicolo Cusano in Rome, Italy. Before getting her degree Sarah spent 13 years caring for children aged 3 months to 12 years. During this time, Sarah enjoyed playing games with the children, fostering their creativity and creating safe learning environments for them.  During her university internships, she loved working in the classroom and learned the importance of teamwork. She enjoys biking, traveling and cooking. She recently moved to White Plains with her husband and son Pietro.  She is so excited to join the ECC!

Garynn Rodner


Garynn Rodner joined the ECC at Temple Shaaray Tefila in August 2022 as an Assistant Teacher in the 3s, and is very excited to join our 4s team this year! Garynn’s father, Jeffrey Rodner, was a founding member of the Temple and her family belonged for many years.  Prior to joining Shaaray, Garynn worked at Temple Beth El ECC in Chappaqua for four years where she was an Assistant Teacher in the 2s and 3s classes. Garynn grew up in Bedford and moved back over 20 years ago to raise her two children, Taylor and Hunter, who attended the ECC at Shaaray. Garynn loves spending time with family and friends and enjoys taking long walks with her dog, Brody.

Judy Ruskin


Judy Ruskin has been on staff at Temple Shaaray Tefila since 2005 in the Early Childhood Center and has taught in the Religious School for the past 10 years. During her tenure, she taught for many years in 2s and 4s classes. This year, she is pleased to be working as a floater in the ECC while continuing as a Hebrew teacher in the Religious School.  Judy has two grown children and resides in Armonk in an “empty nest” with her husband, Jim. She feels privileged to work at the Temple where she is able to impart her love and knowledge of Judaism to even our youngest ECC students.

Kathy Sarfaty


Kathy Sarfaty was a 3s teacher at Shaaray Tefila for 4 years, and before that, she worked at the JCC in Pleasantville for 16 years as both a head and assistant teacher. Since September 2022, she has been helping out the  ECC’s admin team while also subbing as needed. She loves helping children take positive steps forward by providing developmentally appropriate educational and Judaic experiences in a safe, cheerful, and enriching learning environment. She has a CDA (Child Development Associate Credential, the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education) through the Council for Professional Recognition. She also provided in-home daycare for 12 years while raising her own 3 daughters, all adults now, and she has been married for 41 years. When not working, she enjoys long walks, country drives and getting together with family and friends. 

Sallie Sills


Sallie Sills ran a martial arts school in Bozeman, Montana for 10 years with her husband before moving to Westchester County in 2010. Since then, she has taught pre-k at the New Canaan Nature Center Preschool, worked with school groups at Muscoot Farm and Hilltop Hanover Farm, taught yoga at preschools throughout the county, and taught theater to tweens and teens in Northern Westchester. She lives in Bedford Hills with her husband and twin daughters. Sallie has been involved in working at and running camps for many years, and feels very lucky to be the director of Goldens Bridge Day Camp.

Jen White


Jen White has a Masters in Childhood Education, a Certificate in Early Childhood Education, and an Advanced Certificate in Students with Disabilities. Before becoming a teacher at the ECC, she spent 7 years in education teaching a multitude of grades, subject areas, and learning abilities. She is so excited to be joining our 4s team and putting to good use her expertise in teaching reading and writing skills. She knew she wanted to be an educator for as long as she remembers, and strives to help her students meet their full potential. After a day full of lessons, learning, and laughter, Jen comes home to her husband Justin, son Jackson, and Luna, the family pup. Jen enjoys spending time with her family, listening to music, and being outdoors. 

Ally Wolland


Ally Wolland is a wife and mother of three boys Ethan, Emmett and Eli and their sweet dog Avery who is an apricot colored Bichpoo. Her Youngest son Eli attended preschool at the ECC and had such a positive experience, Ally couldn’t wait to join the Shaaray Tefila family! Ally earned a BA in speech pathology and audiology and has been an active volunteer within the Byram Hills school district for over 13 years. She currently sits on the board of the Byram Hills Education Foundation (BHEF) as well as the parent advisory board for J-teen which is a Part of the UJA and is dedicated to inspiring Jewish teens with leadership training and community service. Ally is passionate about enriching the lives of children by making them feel safe, happy and confident as new members in the school community. When not working at school, Ally enjoys reading, cooking and baking, and playing tennis. She and her husband Jahn live in Bedford with their boys. 

Jane Zeitler


Jane Zeitler has been a teacher since 2013, working with children in preschool through 5th grade. She earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from Manhattanville College and a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from Amherst College. Before coming to Shaaray, she taught the 3s/4s class at Temple Sholom in Greenwich. Jane lives in South Salem with her husband and she has a 22-year-old son at Columbia University Teachers College. A few of her hobbies include drawing, baking, swimming, skiing and reading.

Ilana Saposh


Ilana Saposh has a Master’s degree in education. She taught first and second grade in Riverdale and Pelham, and worked with preschool aged children for the past 14 years. Ilana loves working with preschoolers because every day is different and watching the children discover new things is so rewarding. Ilana lives in White Plains with her husband, Rob, and they have three daughters. In her free time she loves to read, try new recipes and take long walks.